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(Last Updated: Wednesday 20 September)

It was good to see the return of the rain this week and the water temperature cooling to what it normally is at this time of year and down to around the around  52F by the end of the week, there were a few mornings with frost and mist on the way to the office.  Wednesday saw 22 fish to the rods and the largest salmon caught on the river this week. Most of the fish being caught now have some colour and are moving up the river to where they will spawn.

Beats reporting salmon this week were right along the river from Kincausie right up to Crathie, the total along the river was over 3 x what it was last week, but we were starting from a low expectation, this week we had 69 salmon and 21 sea trout reported to FishPal.

The Aberdeen & District Angling association beats had only 1 fish  reported, a 4lb grilse from Kingcausie caught by regular angler Angus Rutherford from Somers.

Park had the biggest number of salmon and sea trout on the river this week with 18 salmon, including 7 in one day on Wednesday.

Lower Crathes & West Durris had the largest fish this week, with an 18lb salmon on Wednesday.

At Banchory Kate Butler had a fish from Bohore Pool on Lower Blackhall, well done Kate as you were the successful bidder in our online auction last year for this fishing, we are gathering lots for the 2023 auction at the moment and go live on 1st November, look out for more information soon.

At Cairnton & Middle Blackhall the weeks catch was a 4lb grilse for Nick Williams from Wittocks on a small Willie Gunn & Chris Johnston with a 5lb grilse from Upper Ferroch and a 2lb sea trout, both on a Sunray

At Upper Blackhall Jamie Doran hosted this week’s party and it was a slow start, but on Wednesday Jamie had a fish of around 7lb from the Corner pool. On Thursday, on her first day of fishing, Tanya Clarke caught her first ever salmon, a 7lber from the Corner pool, very well done to her and a great Dee memory. Late on Friday afternoon Jamie caught a 16lb fish in the tail of the Corner, Raymond Sinclair the Ghillie said it was in full spawning colours and gave him a good run around.

The Dess beat had 11 salmon and 7 sea trout last week and Ali McEwan the Ghillie told me Dean Hilton and Mark Swindlehurst landed 2 small salmon and 4 sea trout at the start of the week. Drew Patterson saved them a blank on Wednesday with one from Little Quithel. Regular Dee angler Andy Barrowman had 3 in quick succession from the Island on Thursday and picked up one of each on Friday.  Herve de Saint Quentin had a salmon and sea trout late Friday - early Saturday. The beat rounded the week off with John Johnson getting in on the action and the ever-reliable Blaine Lyon from TwinPeakes Fly-Fishing catching 2 and a sea trout at last knockings. Ali said although a good week catch wise the rods have had to work long and hard to get the reward, this was certainly true all along the Dee.

Some of the river team have been out on the river on foot and in canoes in the early morning yesterday doing the scheduled bird count and this then informs the licence application our fisheries protection manager will do for next year, it was absolutely tipping down with rain and so I felt quite guilty being in a warm office while they were out in the wild weather.  It will be interesting to see what the numbers were like when everything is counted up.

If you are looking to get your booking in for fishing on the Dee then please contact the beats or check FishPal as there is some availability showing between now and the end of the season, this week we have had a good amount of rain and the river is rising well, there is more rain due in the forecast.

A polite reminder, if you want to know more about the work of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board then come along to the AGM/APM on Thursday 28 Sept at 7pm , you will need to book if you want to come in person to Banchory Lodge or e mail us if you want to join from your armchair by Zoom and maybe not local to us, so that we can send you the link the day prior. There will be short presentations from all of the management team about the full range of our work and what are aspirations are for future workstreams.  The link is here to get more information -

Tight lines!


Helpful Information 

Tackle Shops and Outfitters on Deesside

Guides and Instructions on the River Dee 

Where To Stay on Dee and the surrounding countryside. 

Where To Eat on the river Dee.

Fishing Permits for the River Dee.


Get In touch:

Thanks so much for sending me your photos and your stories, as they say around these parts “ Haste ye back to the silvery Dee”

Fish Handling

Salmon mortality from catch and release fishing is low, and this is a valuable tool in salmon management. However, catching a fish has many consequences which can have lethal and sub-lethal effects. The key to minimising these effects is to practice good fish handling measures.

The combination of equipment choice, hooking duration, air exposure, and handling time all result in capture stress. The aim of this guidance is to minimise stress.

Handling effects

The direct consequences of taking a fish from water include:

  • Gill collapse – Resulting in less oxygen entering the bloodstream which will ultimately end in suffocation.
  • Eye strain – Salmon and trout do not have eyelids and so raising them out of water can damage the eye and is also highly stressful.
  • Gravity effects – When out of water, the fish’s body and internal organs are no longer supported. Take care to hold the fish horizontally and support the fish so that it doesn’t damage the spine, bones or internal organs. If the fish kicks out of your hands it may be damaged and will certainly be a stressful experience.
  • Skin damage – Damage or scale and mucus loss from nets, dry hands, dropping or placing the fish on the bankside could result in an infection and can stop the fish from reproducing.
  • Temperature change – There can be a big difference between water and air/skin temperature and a rapid change temperature will cause stress.

Anglers can have an impact on salmon offspring too, as a fish that exhibits high amounts of stress – from handling and/or temperature – may then produce fewer or smaller offspring or have lower egg survival and disease tolerance.

In short, how a fish is caught and handled has a direct effect on its survival and also the next generation. Minimising stress by following best practice will have a real impact on the number and quality of fish emerging the following spring.

Best practice

Minimising the time fish are removed from their natural environment must be the goal, and there are numerous studies that suggest air-exposure should ideally be limited to under 10 seconds during the whole catch and release procedure.


  • Use barbless, circle hooks and a line weight heavy enough to bring the fish in quickly.
  • Minimise time played and bring the fish in quickly.
  • Use a suitable, knotless net to avoid skin damage.
  • Handle the fish as little as possible and only with wet hands.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible – Total air exposure during the whole process should be under 10 seconds.
  • Photograph fish in the water or lift just for just a few seconds – holding correctly (below the pectoral fins and on the tail wrist).
  • Keep the fish in the water facing upstream to help it recover – don’t pump the fish.
  • Allow the fish to recover fully before releasing – the fish should be able to maintain an upright position and respond gently touching at the tail.


  • Play the fish unnecessarily.
  • Place the fish on the bank.
  • Take the fish out of the water longer than completely necessary.
  • Lift the fish far from the ground (in case you drop it)
  • Treat it rough (bear hug, by the gills, by the tail etc.)

Fishing at 18°C and above

The stress effects from handling can be further compounded with increasing temperature. As water temperature increases so too does the fish’s oxygen demand and energy consumption.

Fishing in water temperatures exceeding around 18°C becomes increasingly stressful to the fish and is linked to decreased immune function and increased susceptibility to fungal infections.

Adult Atlantic salmon have increased risk of mortality at around 20°C. When temperature remains above 20°C for 24 hours fish are unable to repair the damage caused by thermal stress and at this point catching has a noticeable negative impact on survival.

Anglers have a direct impact on whether salmon survive thermal stress. If fishing in warm water (18°C or more), risk of mortality from poor handling is much greater.

Make sure:

  • Fishing site is appropriate – aerated riffles, rapids.
  • Play the fish firmly and avoid a long fight.
  • Fish early in the day.
  • Do not lift fish out of water at all – choose fishing site so that this is possible.



Keeping the Dee safe from disease, parasites and non-native invasive species is vital for the wellbeing of the river, the fish populations and other wildlife it supports. One of the key tools with which the Board protects the river and its stock of Atlantic salmon and sea trout is the control and management of Biosecurity.

What is Biosecurity?

Biosecurity is most commonly considered to be a series of measures aimed at preventing the introduction and or spread of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites, including non-native species.

Inadvertent introductions of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites can go unnoticed until the point that treatment is no longer an option. Therefore, the prevention of introduction is the most effective way to protect our river.

Simple techniques which anyone can employ, such as checking equipment for any plant materials or animals, cleaning or disinfecting equipment and clothing, and simply allowing clothing and equipment to dry out can all be considered biosecurity measures.

What’s at risk?

The River Dee is renowned as being one of the best fishing destinations in the world and we want to protect our river and fish stocks. It is vital that our biosecurity measures are consistent with the rapidly evolving environment within which we live, to reduce the risk to the Dee and its fish stocks.

We need biosecurity to become a routine part of the Dee experience and we need your support to do this. Anglers and ‘other river users’ on the River Dee must consider biosecurity the next time they are using equipment or clothing that has been used elsewhere other than the Dee and not been cleaned, disinfected or dried.

What can you do?

The best information how to practice biosecurity measures will come from your ghillie, if that doesn’t apply then please follow the Check Clean Dry Campaign and Stop the Spread.

You can also get your kit disinfected at one of two biosecurity stations on the Dee. Use these links for Google Maps directions:

TwinPeakes Flyfishing at Milton of Crathes

The River Office, Mill of Dinnet

We also have facilities at the River Office to clean other river users’ equipment such as canoes and paddleboards.

Thank you in advance for helping to protect the Dee and our fish stocks.

For more information please e mail [email protected] or contact the river office.


Beat catches reported

(Last week)

Beat Catches
Altries and Lower Drum Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 1
Tilbouries Salmon - 6, Sea trout - 0
Upper Drum and Lower Durris Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 1
Park Salmon - 18, Sea trout - 5
Lower Crathes W Durris Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 5
Crathes Castle Salmon - 7, Sea trout - 2
Invery And Tilquhillie Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo Salmon - 12, Sea trout - 13
Cairnton and Mid Blackhall Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 5
Upper Blackhall Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Woodend Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 8
Commonty Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 1
Sluie Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 1
Ballogie Salmon - 5, Sea trout - 2
Carlogie Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 0
Dess Salmon - 4, Sea trout - 4
Birse Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 3
Aboyne Water Salmon - 10, Sea trout - 22
Aboyne Castle Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Dinnet Salmon - 4, Sea trout - 5
Deecastle Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 3
Headinch and Cambus O'May Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 7
Birkhall Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Balmoral Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 5
Crathie Salmon - 8, Sea trout - 4

Kate Butler at Lower Blackhall & Banchory in Sept 2023

Kate Butler at Lower Blackhall & Banchory in Sept 2023

Drone shot of Cairnton Fishing Hut - Sept 2023

Drone shot of Cairnton Fishing Hut - Sept 2023

Tanya Clark with 1st Salmon at Upper Blackhall in Sept 2023

Tanya Clark with 1st Salmon at Upper Blackhall in Sept 2023

Jamie Doran at Upper Blackhall in Sept 2023

Jamie Doran at Upper Blackhall in Sept 2023












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